April 09, 2008
Scenic Heights Subdivision
Part 28 In A Series
CANYON LAKE, Texas (STPNS) -- Somebody at the April 5 specially called meeting of the Scenic Heights Subdivision Property Owners? Association mentioned Joseph Stalin, and for good reason.
It was Stalin, after all, who said that it doesn?t matter how people vote as long as you get to count the votes.
Called before angry property owners by virtue of petition were SHSPOA president Mike Groves, Vice-president Norris J. DeVoll, treasurer June Bulman and secretary Jane Branham.
As many as forty property owners, two off-duty Comal County Sheriff?s deputies, at least one banished journalist and a dog with a bandanna were in attendance.
Groves told photographer Douglas Kirk before the meeting that he would not be allowed to video tape the meeting and that if he did, he would be in violation of federal law.
Police officers shrugged their shoulders on that one, stated that they were just there to enforce Texas law.
As a property owner in the subdivision, Kirk registered his complaint that he had a right to stay in the subdivision park and then stepped on to county property and videotaped the meeting from there. Officer Tommy Ward thanked him for his cooperation and agreed that he could take all the pictures he wanted from public property.
Two others in the audience, however, were less cooperative. Bobby Garnand trained his camera on Groves as did another.
Groves stopped the meeting and demanded the cameras be turned off. When they weren?t, Groves asserted that the SHSPOA now owned the copyright to the videos, a statement that garnered snickers and wholesale laughter from property owners. It was obvious that Groves had not read the 1977 Federal Copyright Law or understood how the government protects creativity from just such bullying.
As the meeting proceeded, official videographer Jay Bulman used his knee as a tripod and kept one hand free for smoking.
Each of the directors who had been called on the carpet stood before the crowd, with DeVoll making the most lengthy appeal. June Bulman told everyone to ?Just vote.?
When the voting began, one-by-one, property owners came up to the front to drop voting cards into an open cardboard box. Then, either DeVoll or Bulman gathered up the cards and walked them to the official wiggly card table for counting.
?They?re handling the cards in the election where we?re voting on them,? said one disgruntled property owner.
?Well, we know how this is going to turn out,? said another.
Once all the ballots were cast by people present, DeVoll dropped his wad of proxies into the box.
Proxies brought to the election by Stellar Park, Inc. vice-president Tom Bruce were disqualified earlier.
Officials claimed that Bruce could not vote for the park corporation, a member of the SHSPOA in good standing, and that he could not vote his six proxies obtained from other property owners. He presented a power of attorney signed by Stellar Park, Inc. president Douglas Kirk, reflecting the will of the Stellar Park board of directors that Bruce would handle all matters for Stellar Park relative to the SHSPOA, including voting.
In fact, Bruce had been recognized by the SHSPOA and had been allowed to vote for Stellar Park in previous elections with no challenges from anyone.
?There?s something screwy going on here,? said one woman.
?All of our rights have been thrown out,? said Rene Hunter.
?If Stellar Park can?t vote,? she said, ?then any other property owner can?t either. I just don?t understand that. I?ll tell you why. It?s because they have seven proxies and they won by six. That was the deciding figure.?
In fact, when the vote tally was counted, proxies that had been thrown out, Bruce?s seven, and what Chris Hernandez said were dozens more at the board meeting April 3, the outcome was pretty much assured.
Groves stayed in office with 49 saying to remove him and 52 voting to keep him.
DeVoll stayed in, with the greatest vote margin, 42 for removal, 58 against. (Oddly, DeVoll was so popular in the October 2006 annual meeting, that he did not get elected to the board until he was nominated four consecutive times--failing the first three.)
June Bulman also kept her directorship. A total of 46 voted to remove her and 55 voted to keep her.
Bulman came under fire just weeks ago when she allegedly refused to give property owners a list of the members of the corporation so that they could be notified of the effort to remove her.
She said at the meeting April 5 that the list is on her computer and there is no way to download it to a flash drive.
?Why does she have the voters list on her personal computer if there?s an association computer?? asked Rene Hunter.
Finally, Jane Branham kept her position, with 45 voting for removal and 55 against.
Property owners present were not happy with the results.
?I don?t want to hear any more of that bull----,? said one as he sped away on his power chair.
Groves said that the vote count was preliminary, and then said, ?We will count them probably many, many more times again just verifying, double checking.?
Director Bill Utterback was questioned about the disqualification of the Stellar Park vote and proxies.
?Well,? he said, ?I know that there were proxies that were made out to Tom Bruce that were invalidated because he was not known to be a member as of the record date [April 3].?
?They know he?s part of the [Stellar Park] board,? said Bobby Garnand. ?They just wanted a way to get him off. That?s what they do, and you know it.?
?Being a part of the board of Stellar Park does not qualify him to vote for Stellar Park,? said Utterback.
SHSPOA just would not recognize Bruce?s history of voting for the park or his power of attorney from his board to vote for the park.
?I guess the next step is court,? said Kirk. ?This whole thing started when someone voted for Stellar Park in a deed restriction renewal election without our knowledge in 2005. Now they don?t want us to vote at all.
?Someone may be drooling over the prospect of stealing our park for their own personal profit,? said Kirk, ?but I?ve got bad news for them. My board and various individuals with whom we associate are not about to cave in to a con.?
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